When President Lyndon Baines Johnson prepared to name his first U.S. Secretary of Transportation, he knew it would take a creative and intelligent leader to stand up the new Department of Transportation. And he knew that then-Under Secretary of Commerce Alan Boyd was the right man for the job.
Since then, 16 other men and women have taken the Oath of Office for that position, and they have continued down the path that Secretary Boyd blazed. It's a path toward greater safety and mobility, paved by listening to a diverse array of stakeholders from the public, private, and non-profit sectors --and made a lot easier by the professionals at DOT who serve the American people faithfully day in and day out.
Secretaries and audience honor DOT's inaugural Secretary, Alan Boyd (far right) at the 50th Anniversary ceremony.
Today, we were fortunate to have seven of them --including me-- on the stage for the kickoff ceremony of our year-long 50th Anniversary celebration, and I can’t thank them enough for joining us. We also were joined by Lynda Johnson Robb --daughter of President Johnson—and Deputy Postmaster Ronald Stroman, and I thank them, too!
2016 brings us to a significant milestone here at DOT, our 50th anniversary! And today we're kicking off a year-long celebration of our five decades of public service.
That celebration begins at 11 AM (ET) with a kickoff ceremony that we will stream live at www.transportation.gov/50/events.
We've invited some special guests --including the very first Secretary of Transportation, Alan Boyd, and Lynda Johnson Robb, daughter of President Lyndon Baines Johnson-- so we hope you'll join us online. If you're sharing the livestream on social media, or just want to wish us a “Happy Anniversary!” please use our anniversary hashtag, #DOTat50.
After the stream ends, you can visit our new 50th Anniversary website for a look at how far we've traveled together over the past 50 years!
If you're Punxsutawney Phil, whether you see your shadow today or not, you're going to be missing out. Because the sight to see in the first week of February 2016 --at least around DOT-- is not your shadow; it's the applications being submitted by mid-sized cities for our Smart City Challenge.
The Smart City Challenge applications could determine something far more important than the duration of this single winter, which is --let's face it-- already halfway over. They could show us how we can manage the transportation challenges we'll be facing in the next 30 years.
But first, they have to make their way to DOT...by February 4...
A few years ago, in one of my first posts here in the Fast Lane, I wrote that, to make American transportation safer and stronger, "we need every tool in the box and a few we haven't even thought of yet."
Well, last Friday, I saw powerful affirmation of that at Texas A&M University, the site of the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Design Competition. At this event, more than a thousand high school and college engineers from all over the world presented their designs for the best Hyperloop pod. And I think that level of turnout and excitement from student innovators is the biggest story emerging from the competition...
Visiting with student competitors from MIT.
Cross-posted from the White House blog.
“It is fitting that with the very first bill I sign…we are upholding one of this nation’s first principles: that we are all created equal and each deserve a chance to pursue our own version of happiness.” —President Barack Obama, January 29, 2009
Seven years ago today, President Obama signed into law his first piece of legislation as President: the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which empowered women to recover wages lost to pay discrimination. While the gender pay gap has narrowed slightly over the past two years, there is much more work to be done to ensure fair pay for all. Today, the median wage of a woman working full-time year-round in the United States is about $39,600—only 79 percent of a man’s median earnings of $50,400.
Today, the President is highlighting several additional actions that his Administration is taking to advance equal pay for all workers and further empower working families..
Cross-posted from the U.S. Department of Labor blog.
In the 25 years since the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we have lived through a technological revolution. We have seen technology empower people with disabilities in all aspects of life. This is especially true in the workplace, as the tremendous advance of technology has been the great equalizer for people with disabilities who are employees or job seekers. The department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy has focused on promoting universal design in information technology, and on increasing the availability of accessible technology for use in the workplace.
But technology isn’t just important at work; it’s essential to getting to work. The best employment program is of little help if people cannot access reliable, independent and affordable transportation. The recent innovation in wayfinding and other technologies has greatly enhanced the ability of millions of Americans with mobility challenges to get to and from their jobs − but we aren’t done yet...
Throughout last fall, DOT's Volpe, the National Transportation Systems Center, hosted nine distinguished speakers all talking about emerging ways to move America beyond traffic. Advances in communications, connected vehicles, navigation, and automation —coupled with a surge in transportation-related data— are poised to dramatically change how we travel and deliver goods and services; Volpe's speakers took us on a grand tour of that transportation world we might soon inhabit. And last week, Volpe combined the recordings of these nine speakers into one playlist to simplify viewing.
But, even though the Beyond Traffic 2045 series officially ended December 9 with Google's Chris Urmson, you can't say that Volpe has slowed down its exploration of the trends that will transform transportation over the next 10, 20, or 30 years...
The 2015 St. Lawrence Seaway navigation season ended when the CWB Marquis passed through the US-operated Eisenhower Lock on December 30.
But, with only 2 months remaining until this important binational waterway reopens for the 2016 navigation system, there has been no slowdown in activity; only the focus of activity has changed. Instead of working to keep ships passing through the Eisenhower and Snell locks in balmy summer weather, Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) crews are now working through frigid conditions on critical lock maintenance and upgrades...
Last December, we launched our Smart City Challenge to show what's possible when communities use technology to connect their diverse transportation assets into a single interactive network that improves lives through greater safety, ease, efficiency, and reliability. The winning mid-sized city will receive up to $40 million in Federal funding; up to $10 million from Paul Allen's Vulcan to support deployment of electric vehicles and other carbon emission reduction strategies; and fleet-wide installation of Mobileye technology aboard transit buses.
All to demonstrate what a bold, data-driven approach to transportation can achieve.
To describe interest in the Smart City Challenge as "active" would be an understatement. To date, nearly 30,000 people from Maine to Hawaii and Florida to Alaska have viewed our pages more than 63,000 times to learn about this exciting competition. We also had more than 2,000 attendees participate in informational webinars, the Smart City Forum, and/or during our challenge kick-off...
Last week, the Federal Highway Administration reported that, with the data from November now in, it looks pretty clear that 2015 was a record year for Vehicle Miles Traveled.
By the end of November, U.S. drivers had racked up about 2.88 trillion vehicle miles traveled, with each of the first 11 months of the year showing an increase of between 2.5 and 4.9 percent over the corresponding month from 2014. Even if the December 2015 data show no gain from December 2014, which is unlikely, that would put the 2015 total over 3.1 trillion. That's an increase over 2014 of more than 100 billion miles.
No matter how you slice it, that's a lot of miles...in terms of absolute value, and also as an indicator of what kind of volume America's roads are bearing. And, as Secretary Foxx observed on his Facebook page last Friday, that's 2.88 trillion good reasons for America to get #BeyondTraffic...